March 30 at Whiskey Rhythm in Nashville could not have been a better tribute to American veterans.  Though celebrating Tin Pan South, the entire evening was also dedicated to vets everywhere with a new organization called CreatiVets which is a veteran songwriting program.  The organization offers vets the opportunity to learn how to write songs by being paired with other, more experienced songwriters, who may also be fellow veterans.

Richard Casper, founder of CreatiVets, opened the show, giving everyone a bit of information on the  organization and sang a song he said was “not the saddest song yet,” because he was saving that for later in the evening. Fellow Veteran and the guy known for his time on “The Bachelorette,” Luke Pell, sang a song titled “Next To You,” before turning it over to Mark Irwin, super songwriter known for his hits like “Highway Don’t Care” featuring Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, “Here in the Real World” by Alan Jackson and “Neon Light” by Blake Shelton – and Irwin treated us to his version of all of them.

The phenomenal Darryl Worley, well-known as an avid supporter of veterans, was a perfect fit for the evening. He graced the audience hits like “I Miss My Friend” and told a great story of how he’d heard that song “coming out of a tent” while he was in Afghanistan. He had been over there for a while and was about to leave to return home the next day – but he couldn’t sleep.

Richard Casper, Luke Pell, Darryl Worley and Mark Irwin perform some of their biggest hits during Tin Pan South. PHOTO BY LUKE MANESS

So he got up to walk around the camp that night and heard his song, “I Miss My Friend,” when he passed by someone’s tent at about 3:30 in the morning.  Worley also sang “I Just Came Back From A War” and his mega-hit, “Have You Forgotten.”

In between, Casper sang a song titled “I Can’t Cry” – which is a song that talks about seeing his best friend killed in the war and thereafter having to buck-up to do things like clean his friend’s gun and fold the flag to present to his friend’s wife, a sad but true account of his real-life experience while overseas.

Pell sang “Pretty Close” before Richard Casper closed the show with more info on CreatiVets and sang ” They Call Me Doc” currently out by new country duo Walker McGuire.